Flash Movie Review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

There is a certain beauty in nature’s untouched landscapes. Having traveled across the United States, visiting 47 out of the 50 states to date, I have been incredibly grateful for what I have seen. I felt I was on a different planet while trekking through Badlands National Park and when I was at Yellowstone National Park, I finally understood the line “purple mountain majesties” when I saw them with my own eyes. Without special effects or being touched by man, earth can provide us an unbelievable movie set. Sitting in the movie theater with my 3D glasses on, I felt I was watching a PBS special. Scene after scene after scene of fantastical landscapes filled with soaring mountains and unfurling waterfalls, I did not know where to look first. If this was only a travelogue then this would be wonderful in its own right. But this was a movie, so I wanted a story to connect the beautiful and exciting images before my eyes. It felt to me as if the special effects were thought of first and then the writers put a story to them. Starting a new trilogy, I understood there would have to be a groundwork of explanations laid down to get the movie audience on the same page; however, it made for a slow pace in the beginning. Martin Freeman (Love Actually, Hot Fuzz) played Bilbo Baggins, a hesitant Hobbit who went along with a band of Dwarves to reclaim their mountain home from the dragon Smaug. Richard Armitage (Frozen, Robin Hood) was the Dwarf King Thorin who with the wizard Gandalf, played by Ian McKellen (X-Men franchise, Stardust) lead their group through perilous lands filled with goblins, giant spiders and other deadly creatures. Where the beginning of this movie was disappointing, the last half  of this 2 hour and 49 minute film came together for me. Director Peter Jackson and his special effects team did an amazing job, bringing a new and improved Gollum, played by Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Prestige) to the screen. The facial expressions on Gollum and the other fanciful beings were truly realistic. With the excitement ratcheted up, the steadier pacing and deeper chemistry between characters; I thoroughly enjoyed the movie by its conclusion. If only more attention had been given to the story as the special effects this would have been a masterpiece. As I was leaving the theater, if they had been selling postcards of the movie’s landscapes, I would have bought several to mail out to my friends.


2 2/3 stars

About moviejoltz

From a long line of movie afficionados, one brother was the #1 renter of movies in the country with Blockbuster, I am following in the same traditions that came before me. To balance out the long hours seated in dark movie theaters, I also teach yoga and cycling. For the past 3 years, I have correctly picked the major Oscar winners... so join me as we explore the wonder of movies and search for that perfect 4 star movie.

Posted on December 15, 2012, in Fantasy/Sci-Fi and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. do you do lists of 5 feel good movies, or 5 really scary movies?

    • At the moment I have not thought about doing a list review. I feel I am still somewhat new at this and have focused on doing reviews of current movies and those on DVD. However, that does not mean it may happen down the reel. Thank you for stopping by to leave a comment. Happy Oscar season to you.

  2. I became a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien’s work after reading The Hobbit during a high school fiction class. Since I enjoyed the book, my teacher encouraged me to tackle the full Lord of the Rings saga. It took some time to get started, but I read his epic tale as well as The Silmarillion. I was blown away by Peter Jackson’s vision of LOTR. He remained true to the story with only minor alterations for time and making the scope manageable. When word broke that Jackson planned to bring The Hobbit to the big screen, I was cautious. That story was so light compared to LOTR. When I heard that he planned to stretch it into a trilogy, I was even more concerned.

    I was blown away by the quality of 3D. In my estimation, it was better than Avatar. But, I found it distracting. Establishing shots were beautiful, but during other scenes, I felt as if I was watching a live theater production. Without a doubt, the Bilbo/Gollum scene was brilliant. When connecting to LOTR, that’s the most important scene in The Hobbit. I thought the story could have been stronger, but entering the theater, I knew it was lighter. In a word, I’d have to say: disappointing.

  3. In my review I said much the same in regards to 3D in general. Here it didn’t overpower as it does for some. This intro was satisfying. Welcome to the blogging sphere.

  4. The Dancing Rider

    We added this to our collection. I’m one of those people who probably would have found something to like in this movie, no matter what. :/ After all, I am addicted to the earlier LOTR franchse, and I found the idea of a series of, essentially, prequels, interesting. I found I could no longer remember the book, as read it decades ago. Didn’t see it in 3D though.

    Loved the production values. I could watch this mutiple times just for the scenery! However, I also enjoyed the movie. A bit slow perhaps, but doable. I enjoyed seeing the beginnings of what was to come (by the LOTR’s time).

    • Each one of the Hobbit films had breathtaking scenery. I hope one day I can make it to New Zealand. It thrills me that a movie brings you so much joy. Thanks for your comments once again.

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